If you knew my mom you know she was fun to be around. If you never made Jeanine’s acquaintance let me say she had a big personality with laughter, love and kindness out front. Some of her brightness was tempered by failing health in later years, but it was always possible to see her laugh and kid with people. Her most recent home was at St. Clara’s Manor, a wonderful nursing facility in Lincoln with a great staff. My family is grateful for their care of her.
My mom was born January 10, 1930 to Margaret (Dunham) (1906-1972) & Andrew Youngblood (1906-1947). She had one brother Charles Thomas (Tommy) Youngblood 9 years younger who she adored (1938-1944). My grandmother was an important person in our family and spent lots of time with us. Jeanine talked so highly of her dad and brother who both died young. In fact, her grandson Jesse wrote a song about her where a line goes, “and now she speaks of them like they were walking.”
Jeanine became a member of Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church when she was a teenager in 1945. Quoting from her final wishes written in 2000 she said “ Served on almost every work area several times. I taught Sunday school and bible school and was an usher for many years. Was a Lay delegate to the Great Rivers Conference for many years and was a member of a women’s circle and fundraising committees.” Mom loved her Church family.
Jeanine married Adam Nelch on March 12, 1948 in Jacksonville, IL. My brother Adam Mark Nelch was born in 1950 and me, Andrea (husband Bill Johnson) in 1955. My dad was born 9/23/1928 and passed away on 9/9/2013. Both my parents worked and my mom spent early working years at Bell Telephone. After I started school, she went to work for 12 years at Springfield High School mainly in the Library. She was suited to work with teens and became friends with many staff members.
As you can sumize, Jeanine loved socializing with others whether volunteering or serving on various community committees such as United Cerebral Palsy, Kings Daughters, Brinkerhoff and Federated Jr. Women’s club. She belonged to a sewing club, but she did not sew. She participated in a card club that gave up playing cards, served homemade goodies and enjoyed each other’s company. One club in particular I was most familiar with – The Springfield Ceramics and Crafts club. As a member, Jeanine taught craft classes and learned to be a talented artist/craftsperson enjoying painting, jewelry making and more. Jeanine built many lifelong friendships.
Holidays found my parents’ home filled with her arts and crafts like painted Santa’s or ceramic pumpkins to the extreme delight of her grandchildren. She enjoyed baking, but not cooking. I remember an apron she made that said I hate to cook, clean and sew.
My folks started traveling in a motorhome when we showed horses. Then later traveled the US and went West to visit kids and grandkids in Arizona and Washington. They escaped some of the winter weather going to Kona HI where a close group of fellow traveler friends vacationed. Though she spent almost her entire life in Springfield, she and my dad loved to travel whenever they could.
Jeanine has 4 grandchildren: Jesse William Johnson, Alexa Jeanine Johnson Boals, Marjorie Mae Nelch, Edward Adam Nelch and a great granddaughter Jadea Sage Nelch. They hold a special place.
We miss you mom, your laugh and love.
Memorial service Friday June 28 at 11 am @ Camp Butler Cemetery Shelter.
In honor of Jeanine, please pass kindness to others and keep her in your heart.
Memorial donations to Douglas Church, 501 S. Douglas Ave, Springfield, IL 62704 or JDRF/Type 1 Diabetes Research Foundation, 26 Broadway, 14th Floor NY, NY 10004 jdrf.org .